Atomic Layer Deposition of Platinum Catalysts on Nanowire Surfaces for Photoelectrochemical Water Reduction

The photocathodic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) from p-type Si nanowire (NW) arrays was evaluated using platinum deposited by atomic layer deposition (ALD) as a HER cocatalyst. ALD of Pt on the NW surface led to a highly conformal coating of nanoparticles with sizes ranging from 0.5 to 3 nm, allowing for precise control of the Pt loading in deep submonolayer quantities. The catalytic performance was measured using as little as 1 cycle of Pt ALD, which corresponded to a surface mass loading of ∼10 ng/cm<sup>2</sup>. The quantitative exploration of the lower limits of Pt cocatalyst loading reported here, and its application to high-surface-area NW photoelectrodes, establish a general approach for minimizing the cost of precious-metal cocatalysts for efficient and affordable solar-to-fuel applications.